Acoustics, Aerodynamics and Aeroelasticity

The propagation of pressure waves (sound) in fluids and the interaction of unsteady fluid forces with the dynamic response of structures arises in a variety of contexts,  with perhaps aerospace applications most often driving the research agenda and the development of new applications. Duke University has the premier research group in the world in this area of science and technology.

Acoustics, aerodynamics and aeroelasticity research in the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science Department focuses on the following areas:

  • Acoustics and aeroacoustics
  • Aerodynamics (steady and unsteady)
  • Aeroelasticity
  • Applications to airframes, jet engines and rockets

Example research projects include aerodynamic flow control of an airfoil with small trailing-edge devices; computer modeling using automatic differentiation to create a nonlinear reduced order model of a computational fluid dynamic solver; stochastic analysis of a nonlinear aeroelastic model using the response surface method; experimental and theoretical study of gust response for a wing-store models with freeplay and other nonlinearities; modeling limit cycle oscillation behavior of high performance aircraft including the F-16 and F-35 using a harmonic balance approach; and transonic limit cycle oscillation analysis using linear and nonlinear reduced order aerodynamic and structural models.

Opportunities for Graduate Study

The department offers an M.S./Ph.D. study track in mechanical engineering with a core in acoustics, aerodynamics (steady and unsteady), controls, dynamics (linear and nonlinear) and fluid/structure interaction (aeroelasticity)

The department also offers a program of study towards the Masters of Engineering (M.Eng) in Mechanical Engineering. This 30-credit degree program includes course work towards departmental requirements, an area of specialization, business and management fundamentals, and an internship or applied research experience. Students have the flexibility to focus on topics of aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, fluid mechanics and controls relevant to career preparation for the aerospace industrial sector.


Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
fluid mechanics, aerodynamics, acoustics, and structural dynamics
William Holland Hall Professor of Mechanical Engineering in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering
Broad field of aeroelasticity, acoustics, nonlinear dynamics, structural dynamics, and unsteady aerodynamics.
Professor of the Practice
Franzoni specializes in acoustics, and structural dynamics and vibration. Practical applications of this work include: acoustics of enclosures (rooms or vehicle interiors) and underwater acoustics (acoustic radiation and scattering from submarines).
Julian Francis Abele Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science in the Edmund T. Pratt, Jr. School of Engineering
Dr. Hall specializes in unsteady aerodynamics, structural dynamics, and aeroelasticity of turbomachinery and aerospace vehicles. Novel approaches to modeling complex physical phenomena using computational fluid dynamics. Optimization and sensitivity analysis. Fluid dynamics of animal propulsion.
Associate Chair
Conducts research and supervises graduate students in the areas of unsteady aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, mistuning, damping, and probabilistic methods. Principal investigator on AFOSR, DARPA, NASA, and Industrial funded research projects. Provides consultion services to turbine engine companies...
Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Our group currently has two main research activities. Project #1. Development of single cell random access memory. The goal of this project is to develop an automated system for reading and writing single cells (e.g., immune cells, yeast cells, etc.) to arbitrary sites on a micro fabricated chip...
Anderson-Rupp Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Ultrasound-targeted gene delivery and activation; Synergistic combination of high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and immunotherapy for cancer treatment; Innovations in shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) technology; and Mechanics and bioeffects of acoustic cavitation.